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Name of Object:
Six episodes from the life of Luigi Ferdinando Marsili
Date of Object:
Before 1711
Type of object:
Documentary and historical painting
Holding Museum:
Università degli studi di Bologna, Rettorato, Musei di palazzo Poggi
Bologna, Italy

About Università degli studi di Bologna, Rettorato, Musei di palazzo Poggi, Bologna
Museum Inventory Number:
QUA 291-296
Material(s) / Technique(s):
Oil on canvas
Place of production:
Bologna (?)
One (75x96 QUA 291), the other five cm. 83x94
Workshop / Movement:
Local workshop, Baroque Age, late Baroque
The peace of Carlowitz between the Habsburg Empire, Venice, Poland and Russia on one side and Turkey on the other was negotiated in 1698–99. Among the diplomats involved, as a representative of emperor Leopold I of Austria, was the Bolognese count Luigi Ferdinando Marsili, who after his return to Bologna founded the Istituto delle Scienze (Institute of Sciences) (1711). This series is composed of six paintings: five depicting military camps, travelling armies and trains and one representing the discussion about the borders of the Habsburg empire. The paintings describe the negotiations and the following operations in order to define the borders of Venice, the Empire and Turkey in Bosnia and Dalmatia. All paintings are described in the Instrumentum Donationis, housed in the 'Istituto delle Scienze (first half XVIII century). Each painting originally bore a wooden caption explaining the scene depicted in it, today only one survives. This sort of documentary painting was new for Bolognese culture, and has been connected with the astronomical scenes commissioned from Donato Creti in 1711 by Marsili himself (now in the Pinacoteca Vaticana).
In scene n. 291, painted with a rich brushstroke showing the influence of Giuseppe Maria Crespi, is depicted an episode of the negotiations for the peace: under a camp tent three diplomats sit next to their respective generals. In the foreground we are able to identify, thanks to the sealed letters they are holding in their hands, from the left the representative of Austria (Leopold Slink von Wischkirken or maybe Marsili himself, even if he was not the head of the diplomatic expedition), the representatives of Turkey (Reys Mohamed Effendi) and Venice (Carlo Ruzzini). We cannot say which exact moment of the negotiations is depicted here owing to the lost caption. The persons depicted in n. xxxx are each identified with a letter which was further explained in a caption beneath the painting. However, the caption is now lost. It is a sort of birds-eye view of the military camp where the meeting took place, with a tent housing the diplomats and their respective armies. The paintings, dating to Marsili's most significant period of cultural and scientific zeal, employ a precise topographical description and a thorough representation of people, instead of underlining the epic and rhetorical meaning of the episodes.
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Current Owner:
Università degli Studi di Bologna, rettorato, Musei di Palazzo Poggi
Original Owner:
Luigi Ferdinando Marsili (Bologna 1658–1730)
How date and origin were established:
All these paintings are described in two documents from the first half of the XVII century: the act of donation of Marsili to the Istituto delle Scienze (Instrumentum …donationis…Comitis A. F. de Marsiliis, in gratiam novae Scientiarum Institutionis) and a manuscript inventory (Mss. Marsil., n. 85, fasc H).
How Object was obtained:
Marsili Bequest.
Selected bibliography:
Transilvania attraverso i documenti del Conte Luigi Ferdinando Marsili (ed. M. E. Amaldi), Rome, Istituto per l'Europa Orientale, 1930.
Autobiografia di Luigi Marsigli (ed. Comitato Marsiliano), Bologna, 1930.
 Noè, E.“La raccolta dei Ritratti”, I Materiali dell'Istituto delle Scienze(exhibition catalogue), Bologna, 1979, pp. 159-160, nn. 32-37.
Guida ai Musei di palazzo Poggi. Scienza e arte (ed. W. Tega), Bologna, 2001, pp. 108-113.
Citation of this web page:
Carla  Bernardini "Six episodes from the life of Luigi Ferdinando Marsili" in "Discover Baroque Art", Museum With No Frontiers, 2016.;BAR;it;Mus13;48;en
Prepared by: Carla Bernardini
Translation by: Antonella Mampieri
MWNF Working Number: IT2 53